By Merlyn Brown
Special to The Verde Independent
On Saturday, Jan. 19, “Via Romen” performed at the Mingus Union High School Auditorium in Cottonwood. Sponsored by the Verde Valley Concert Association, the North Carolina-based ensemble plays “Nuevo Russian Romany Music.” Romany (Gypsy) music is rooted in Russian-Romany tradition with intricate improvisations, catchy tunes, and flashy footwork; Nuevo Russian–Romany Music is the original creation of Via Romen.Two of the performers, Vadim Kolpakov and Arkadiy Gips, were part of Madonna’s “Sticky & Sweet” 2008/2009 world tour as members of the Kolpakov Trio. VVN/Jon Pelletier
So many times superlative adjectives are overworked when applied to performers. Anybody who had the privilege of being in the audience at the Mingus Union High Auditorium last Saturday night would have to agree that the instrumentalists in the Romany folk group"Via Romen" deserve every last extreme plaudit.
The Verde Valley, Sedona and surrounding areas are not short of performances. But there are times when certain musicians - by their sheer ability to fill a huge performing space with their music - deserve to be presented in just such a venue. Such was the case with "Via Romen,"
The artistry and mastery of their instruments exhibited by seven-string guitarist Vadim Kolpakov, violinist Arkadiy Gips and guitarist Alex Gorodezky filled the auditorium and nearly raised the roof. Vocalist Petra Gelbart provided diversity with her strong voice, and friendly interaction with the audience.
The enthusiastic and appreciative audience was treated to a variety of melodies whose origins were definitely traceable to Eastern Europe, and as they were mostly rooted in a minor key, tugged at the heartstrings. However, all the pieces were not of that geographical derivation - Astor Piazzolla, the Argentinian master of tango music, was represented by a magnificent duet between Kolpakov and Gips, who did similar justice in high style to Monte's "Czardas" which left us breathless. Kolpakov also thrilled the onlookers with a sprightly ethnic dance which brought the house down.
Kudos to the Verde Valley Concert Association, which continues to bring top-of-the-line performing artists to our area, despite all the competition here for our entertainment dollars.
Their next presentation is on Friday, March 1. The popular Brigham Young University Ballet returns, and will dance excerpts from "Princesses" ballets such as "Cinderella" "Sleeping Beauty" and other favorites.
There will be a "Meet and Greet" time before the actual concert for youngsters.
For more information call 928-639-0636.
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